APEC Workshop on Development of Science and Technology Intermediary Mechanism

Beijing, People's Republic of China, 09 February 2004
  • Speech by Ambassador Mario Artaza, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Ladies and gentlemen, as the Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat it is my pleasure and honor to be invited to participate in this workshop.
One of the great features of the APEC family is our diversity. We are 21 Member Economies covering a wide area from Russia in the North West of the APEC region through to Chile in the South East. We speak numerous languages, come from a range of different cultures and each of our economies has their own areas of economic and trade specialties as well as strengths and weakness.
There is also a great diversity in the APEC region in terms of levels of economic development with a number of developing through to industrialized economies.
This diversity is also noticeable in terms of the development of science and technology, where the gap between Member Economies is substantial. Several members are facing challenges in accelerating the process of industrialization and economic development.
APEC was established in 1989 to further enhance economic growth and prosperity for the region. Since its inception, APEC has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region. This has assisted in the creation of more efficient domestic economies and dramatic increases in export levels.
However, it is clear that if APEC is to achieve its free trade and investment goals, economies have to overcome gaps that exist in the development of a strong science and technology sector.
Science and technology has been an important area for APEC for some time. In Mexico City in 1998 APEC Leaders endorsed the APEC Agenda for Science and Technology Industry Cooperation into the 21st Century.
This initiative lays out the Ministers' vision for APEC Member Economies to harness technologies for development and growth in the region. In their Joint Communiqué, Ministers emphasized the need for strong partnerships and networks for the open exchange of ideas.
APEC also has identified the following issues as priorities for science and technology development:
Connecting research and innovationHuman capacity building for science and technology for the new economyEstablishing an APEC science and technology policy forumExpanding APEC cooperation in key technologies for the 21st century
Next month, the 4th Science and Technology Ministerial Meeting will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand.
As you may be aware, the workshop we are attending here today in Beijing will report to ministers, and without doubt the result of this workshop will prove to be a valuable deliverable for 2004.
This workshop here in Beijing is addressing an important issue for the growth of the science and technology sector in our regional economy. It will look at issues that are essential for the sharing of scientific skills between APEC Member Economies, and essentially, the development of a science and technology intermediately mechanism.
As an intermediary agency the mechanism will provide a specialized service for the sector in areas that are important for the innovation systems in APEC Member Economies.
The dissemination of technology, the transfer of research and development results and the allocation of science and technology resources are all elements in the innovation systems of APEC members.
It is fundamental for the science and technology sector to accelerate the development of this intermediary mechanism. Through it we will be able to increase the capacity of innovation, speed-up the process of industrialization and promote a combination of technology and economic development. An important beneficiary of this process will be the small and medium enterprises of our region.
The idea of holding this workshop here in China was endorsed as part of the "Innovative APEC" initiative at the first APEC Senior Officials Meeting for the 2003 APEC Year hosted by Thailand.
The theme for the Thai APEC Year was "A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future" with one of the sub-themes being "Knowledge-Based Economy for All".
2004 APEC Year is hosted by the Republic of Chile. The theme for this year is "One Community, our Future."
Bridging the differences between APEC Member Economies, particularly in the area of science and technology, is one of the priority issues that Chile has committed to move forward this year.
The purpose of this workshop reflects the intention of both the 2003 and 2004 themes in terms of the development of the capacity for sustainable, equitable and balanced development.
Through this workshop participants from different Member Economies will have the opportunity to exchange experience and information on the science and technology intermediary mechanism. This will go a long way to bridge the scientific and technological gap among members.
I hope you have a most successful workshop.